The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 43 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today.
In particular there were two iDevice camera inventions. The first covers 3D photography using advanced LIDAR technology for iDevices, the same technology that’s used in taking street map shots. It’s a scanning method that has many applications including advanced layered photo editing and creating an avatar using the recently acquired Faceshift which if you have not seen this website it is a must.
Apple’s newly granted patent generally relates to an optical remote sensing system that can automatically produce a digital, time-varying 3-dimensional (3D) point cloud that represents the 3D coordinates of real world surfaces that are within a given field of view (FOV) and a given distance or depth. In one embodiment, the system can be described as a scanning LIDAR system. The system has an emitter that produces pulses of coherent collimated light beams (e.g., laser pulses), a mirror system, and a detector that is substantially co-located with the emitter to detect the pulsed light beams when they have been scattered or reflected by an object in the scene.
While LIDAR systems are used to create street maps, like the kind Apple is now in the process of gathering (also see Apple Maps Vehicles list), Apple’s patent states that the new LIDAR system could be “within the same housing of a larger host device such as a consumer electronics product.”
Sounds like a smart phone that can scan to me.